Morning Reading: Football is Back

Enjoy the day knowing that football season has finally returned.  All is right with the world and there are actual games being played.  Sure, games that don’t count, but games all the same.  A game of any kind is better than nothing.  So stop pretending you’re actually following baseball.  Stop believing you actually care what happens during the NBA offseason.  Football is back.  You have something to do for the next few months.

• Football returned with a thrilling matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game.  For three breath-taking quarters we saw one field goal scored in each before scoring blew up in the final frame with each team scoring an entire touchdown.  The Cowboys would hold on to win it in a game that kept you on the edge of your seat.
Okay, that’s enough of that.  It’s the preseason and the preseason is tough to watch even for the most diehard of fans.  The players you know are typically out by halftime and you’re left with former college players hanging on to the dream.  Occasionally someone steps up and shows you something, but for the most part, it’s a glorified scrimmage at that point.
The story of the night was the debut of former Cowboy wide receiver Terrell Owens in a Bengals uniform.  Owens finished the night with two catches for 18 yards or two more catches and 18 more yards than either Chad Ochocinco or Andre Caldwell.  Former Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Matt Jones led Cincinnati with three catches for 42 yards.  Yes, it’s appropriate to refer to the Bengals as the team of second, third, fourth, and final chances.
It wasn’t pretty and was far from thrilling, but it was football and it’s back.
Denver Broncos sackmaster Elvis Dumervil will learn his fate on Tuesday.  The outside linebacker will undergo surgery which should determine if he will be able to return at all during the 2010 season.  Possible replacement Jarvis Moss also hurt himself, but he could be back after only a few weeks.
Florida fans were up in arms after Emmitt Smith didn’t mention the Gators during his Hall of Fame induction speech.  I have to ask, why?  It may have been nice to hear Smith go off for a few minutes about his school and let us all know how much the orange and blue meant to him.  It would have been great to have him recount a story or two from his days as a Gator.  But again, why be upset that he didn’t?
It was Smith’s moment.  Not the University of Florida’s.  Some mentioned that if Tim Tebow were to one day be inducted into the Hall of Fame that he would be sure to mention the Gators.  Maybe, but he’s not Smith.  And Smith had no obligation to mention anything.
What we saw this weekend was one of the greatest players in Florida history and NFL history inducted into the Hall of Fame.  He could have spent 20 minutes talking and not mentioned the Dallas Cowboys and it may have been odd, but the world still would have turned.  Just like Steve Spurrier didn’t owe it to Smith to ensure him he would be part of the offense when Spurrier came aboard at Florida, Smith didn’t owe it to anyone to have to mention them.  It was his moment and he could say what he wanted to.
During the game last night, Smith apologized and recognized Florida, the Gators, and Urban Meyer.  Most will say that he only did so because of the backlash.  Others won’t care.  You should be among that second group.
As a Florida fan, enjoy the moment.  Be proud that one of your own is now a member of the Hall of Fame.  Far too often we worry about what people say or don’t say.  Smith’s actions on the field as a Gator and beyond are all the words we need.

About The Bull Gator

I like orange and blue things.
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13 Responses to Morning Reading: Football is Back

  1. GatorMatt says:

    Well said, as usual. I agree wholeheartedly about Emmitt and didn't quite understand why people gave him such a hard time anyway. Glad to see one of the greatest boys in blue (I guess he was often a boy in orange, but that's splitting hairs) enshrined, no matter who he mentions.

  2. V. Money says:

    First off, it is called the "Pro Football" Hall of Fame, so the emphasis should have been on his Cowboys years, and rightfully so.

    Second, it isn't really a common practice for inductees to mention their alma maters, at least, not from what I've heard, so it's not like Emmitt was going out of his way to single out UF or anything like that.

    Third, if this backlash was because Emmitt thanked a lot of people in his speech, then, well, he just can't mention everybody. And his appreciation for Moose is definitely emotional, anyway.

  3. V. Money says:

    Besides, Smith was inducted into the *College* Football Hall of Fame in 2006, so UF already had a moment anyway. Twice is nice (my goodness, I rhymed), but once is plenty for me.

  4. The Bull Gator says:

    Great points V. I didn't think of the "pro" vs. "college" angle. Wonder if anyone can find a transcript of his college acceptance speech.

  5. V. Money says:

    It doesn't help the stereotype of the spoiled Florida fan.

    We're the same fanbase that told Steve Spurrier, Heisman-trophy winning Steve Spurrier, coach-of-the-first-title-team Steve Spurrier, love-him-or-hate-him Steve Spurrier, that 10-win seasons and SEC Championships were not enough. As a football powerhouse, we kicked sand in the faces of programs like Duke, North Carolina, and UCLA for two epic seasons. Heck, even one of the school's most famous cheers, "It's great to be a Florida Gator", carries the implicit message that fans at every other school wish that they could be us, which, when it's publicized, comes off as arrogant.

    And it definitely doesn't help when they're the only one who's complaining.

  6. jj gator says:

    I said my peace on GE; too many of the jaded fans amongst us overreacted and made themselves look ridiculous and childish, as well as some members of the media ranting on Twitter Saturday night who write on the Gator beat.

    Emmitt was contrite the following night and gave UF credit where it was due; if that wasn't good enough for these candy-assed fans ready to run him out of Gator Nation over an accidental oversight, then tough. He wouldn't have stood with Coach Meyer on the sidelines at our two NC games if he could have cared less about his alma mater.

    Some of our fellow Gator fans need to get a life.

  7. One Eyed Willy says:

    I guess maybe I am in the minority, at least on this website, but I do have a problem with him not mentioning UF in his speech. It's not a huge problem. It's not a problem that is going to lead me to start hating one of my favorite Gators of all time, but nonetheless I do take issue with it.

    I realize that Emmitt has had this love-hate relationship with people at UF, namely Spurrier and Foley. But I would have thought that that would be water under the bridge by now. Let's face it, Emmitt was leaving early for the NFL regardless, he just wanted someone to try to convince him to stay and Spurrier wasn't going to be that guy given the type of offense he was about to install at UF.

    What I do have a problem with is that sometimes he is a huge Gator fan and sometimes he isn't. Remember the 2006 NC game when he continually did the chomp in Eddie George's face throughout the game? Or the mere fact that he came back to UF to get his degree when in all reality he didn't need to. You look at those instances and you would think he might bleed O&B like the rest of us.

    But there are other times when he seems to forget about UF completely. I have heard stories that he will not sign any pictures of memorabilia of him during his UF days. And then it's this whole speech thing where he "forgets" to talk about UF. His speech was basically a chronological overview of his playing days and he forgot his 3 years at college?!?! I'm not buying that. What if he purposely sat down to write his speech and said, "you know what, f*** Florida. I ain't mentioning them!" If that were the case, which we will never know if it is, that just doesn't sit right with me.

    I know it's his speech and he can thank anyone or anything he wants. But you woudl think a speech of that magnitude — a 22-min speech in front of the entire football nation — you would give a shout out to those things that were most vital in your football career. Apaprently UF football didn't make that list.

    TBG, you end your article by saying, "be proud that one of your own is now a member of the Hall of Fame." I am proud that a member of Gator Nation is now also a member of this prestigious group. The question is…is he proud to be a member of both those groups?

  8. One Eyed Willy says:

    Put me down as someone that needs to get a life then jj. But do you actually think that he sat down to write his speech and accidentally forgot about his days at UF? Come on! jj, if you win a huge award one day and you know that you are going to be in front on a national TV audience and have 20-25 mins to give a speech, you better make sure that you talk about everything and everyone that is important to you. It's not like Emmitt sat at a bar the night before and scribbled some thoughts down on a cocktail napkin. He freakin' had the speech memorized! That takes a lot of time and energy to memorize a 22-min speech. Yet he just "forgot" about UF?

    I guess my question is why can't I be a little pissed off about him not mentioning UF but still love the guy for what he did at UF and in the NFL. He representing UF exactly as I would want any player to represent them on the field. Never got in trouble, busted his ass, and became one of the (if not the absolute) best RB of all time. That doesn't mean that his speech can't piss me off a little bit.

  9. The Bull Gator says:

    STUPID COMPUTER!!! Had a whole thing typed up and it's gone. Let's try this again…

  10. The Bull Gator says:

    About Emmitt being proud to be part of both groups, I obviously can't answer that, but whether he is or isn't…so what? We all want every Gator to be a Gator for life and do everything they can to support the program long after they leave. That's just not the case and is completely unrealistic to believe it really happens.

    I would like Emmitt to be as pro-Gator as the next guy, but if he isn't, so be it. As for those situations where he seems to turn it on (the Eddie George incident)…well…we all know plenty of bandwagon fans. I'd imagine some of those are former players. It may not be ideal and frankly suck, but there are far more bandwagon fans in sports than there are diehards. It may be gut-wrenching to think one of your favorite players might be one, but that seems like the case.

  11. The Bull Gator says:

    And as for being pissed…

    Of course you can be pissed. You can be upset about whatever you want. For me personally, this just isn't something I'm upset about. You would have thought the world ended for some Gator fans after Emmitt's speech. I didn't feel the same way.

  12. jj gator says:

    Willy, take a Valium and chill out. You're reading too much into things.

  13. One Eyed Willy says:

    Well that's one to end a discussion.

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